North

Bathurst caribou: mobile no-hunting zone set up using radio collars

The N.W.T. government has established a mobile conservation area around the the core of the Bathurst caribou herd where hunting is banned, effective this week.

N.W.T. announces new hunting regulations, effective this week

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      The N.W.T. government has established a mobile conservation area around the the core of the Bathurst caribou herd where hunting is banned, effective this week.

      In December, the N.W.T. suspended the issuing of tags to Tlicho and Yellowknives Dene hunters for hunting the Bathurst caribou herd.

      The mobile conservation area will follow a group of Bathurst caribou cows fitted with tracking collars. Reconnaissance flights​ will also help pinpoint the location of the core of the herd.

      The N.W.T. territorial government has set up a no-hunting zone around the Bathurst caribou herd's core. (CBC)
      The government says the location of the protected zone will be updated weekly and will be communicated to aboriginal governments and renewable resource boards, as well as posted on the Environment and Natural Resources website.

      It also says a limited harvest of up to 15 caribou bulls will be allowed for community ceremonial purposes. Groups with traditional rights to harvest Bathurst caribou would have to submit a proposal to ENR for permission to hunt a bull.

      "It has to be something that has to be culturally significant," said Environment Minister Michael Miltenberger.

      "It can't just be because you want to have a feast. There has to be a good rationale. This is an exception to a very, very tough ban because this herd is in trouble."

      Miltenberger said an example of a ceremonial hunt would be a respected elder's birthday.​

      Hunting of the Bluenose East caribou herd will be limited to 1,800 animals, 80 per cent of which must be bulls. The government says the allocation of that harvest has yet to be determined.​

      Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley says the restrictions on Bluenose East caribou need to go further. He suggests once the quota for female Bluenose East caribou is reached, the hunt should be closed, even if the male quota has not been reached.

      "The cows are obviously the most sensitive and necessary component to the recovery of the herd," he said.

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